Board of Supervisors to again discuss marijuana ban, upcoming vote in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

Board of Supervisors to again discuss marijuana ban, upcoming vote in Nevada County

The public this Tuesday can voice its opinion to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors on a ballot measure calling for a total ban on outdoor marijuana grows.

The board meets at 9 a.m. at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave.

At 1:30 p.m. it will discuss a recommendation to change the ballot language on the June 7 measure asking for a ban. The board also will discuss a resolution that, if enacted, would clarify its intent if the ballot measure fails.

Supervisor Hank Weston, in Crescent City on Tuesday, will attend the 1:30 p.m. meeting by teleconference.

The tweak to the ballot language and resolution of intent stem from confusion that came after the board's Jan. 12 vote to immediately ban outdoor grows and limit indoor grows to 12 plants.

The old ordinance allowing outdoor grows no longer exists. The urgency ordinance that implemented the immediate ban took its place.

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A "yes" vote on June 7 would implement a voter-instituted ban. A "no" vote would uphold the urgency ordinance. That means a ban on outdoor grows would remain in place regardless of the vote.

The resolution of intent states the board would repeal the outdoor ban if grow supporters win at the polls.

The ballot language change would provide more detail, stating specifically what types of grows are banned or limited instead of merely listing the code sections that would be amended.

"It's great that they're providing clarity," said attorney Melissa Sanchez, who represents some Nevada County growers.

Sanchez, however, is disappointed the county opted against working with growers and others who want to obey the law.

Nevada City attorney Heather Burke shares those concerns. She expects a large turnout at Tuesday's meeting.

Burke, who intends to speak at the meeting, is worried the board would rush the process if growers win at the ballot box. She pointed to language in the resolution stating that the board would consider and adopt outdoor regulations at the next available meeting after election results are certified.

That's not enough time to include stakeholders in the discussion, Burke said.

Supervisor Dan Miller, the board's chairman, said he wants stakeholders to help craft new regulations if the June 7 vote fails.

"We'd want to do something rather quickly," Miller added.

Both sides have the opportunity to present written arguments to voters before the election.

According to Burke, three local groups will work together to write an argument in favor of outdoor grows.

Supervisors Weston and Miller have been tapped to write the argument in favor of the ban.

In other matters, the commission:

• Will vote on authorizing $225,000 for law firm Porter Scott, which is representing the county in an employment lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and retaliation against a sheriff's official. The county currently has allowed only $75,000 in payments to the law firm.

• Will vote on authorizing $55,000 for A&P Helicopters, Inc., for helicopter rental and pilots — a $30,000 increase to the original budget. The sheriff in a memo states the additional money is needed because of an increased need to spot, among other things, illegal marijuana grows.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.